Saturday, June 25, 2005

Vast increase in Gibraltar juvenile delinquency, says Steven Linares

Opposition spokesman for Education Steven Linares yesterday declared that the GSD (Gibraltar Social Democrats) Government’s “budgetary discipline or cutbacks,” were having an effect on children’s education in schools.

And Mr Linares pointed to “a vast increase in juvenile delinquency” in Gibraltar, noting that local youth clubs were only open three times a week in the evening while all the voluntary work in this area had disappeared.

Mr Linares, a former school-teacher said it was necessary to provide a wider programme of activities for youths, and while acknowledging that some of the youth service programmes were helpful and useful, not all youths were geared for these, but still required a place to meet and socialise.

“Youths vandalise when they are bored,” said Mr Linares highlighting the need to keep them off the streets.

Meanwhile Mr Linares also called for greater coordination between the youth service, the education department, social services and the courts to tackle anti-social behaviour in Gibraltar.

During the Budget Session Mr Linares accused the Government of not having medium to long term planning in this area and said the “mismanagement” of Government finances was such that it was affecting nursery education, supply teachers and even the access to the GASA swimming pool by school children.

He also highlighted the problems of truancy locally, and the state of neglect of St Bernard’s School in the Upper Town.

He then moved on to the question of training and the number of management courses that were carried out. He said there were many presentations of certificates, but no study had been carried out as to the effectiveness and applicability of the courses to the economy. Mr Linares said the mismanagement of the GSD Government extended even to the purchase of stationery and that this led to the disruption of school work.

Theatre Royal has become a £4m crater, says Linares

Mr Linares then accused Chief Minister Peter Caruana of “attempting to con the people” by having compared the situation at the Theatre Royal with that of Harbour Views.

Mr Linares said that while over 2000 families lived in the housing district, the Theatre Royal had become a “hole, and now a £4m crater at City Mill Lane inhabited by 2,000 rats”.

The Opposition spokesman said that Mr Caruana had not done his homework properly on this matter, and that adjacent buildings had had to be pinned with wooden beams to hold them up as a result of the work at the theatre. He said the Chief Minister’s “vision” had turned into a nightmare and “a total waste of taxpayer’s money.” Mr Linares said the Theatre Royal disaster would be Mr Caruana’s legacy and an example of his “sound and prudent management” of the economy.

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